In this post, we’ll give you the scoop on permanent dentures.
The word denture comes from the French word for tooth, dent, and is defined as an artificial replacement of one, several, or all of the teeth. But like with any prosthesis (think artificial limbs), there still tends to be a negative connotation to the word. Our technology isn’t so advanced yet that prosthetics look, feel and behave just like the real thing, so we’re conditioned to react negatively to anything we perceive as ‘fake’. Just say the word ‘denture’ and we think of grandma’s scary false teeth falling onto her plate when she bit down on something!
The irony is that dentistry is one of the few areas of medicine where the prosthesis does indeed look and perform just like the real thing. We’re talking about permanent dentures, and they’re not just for grandma anymore. Placed in the mouth and mounted onto posts implanted in the jawline, permanent dentures are not readily removable and provide a natural, comfortable look and feel no matter how old you are, whatever you’re eating or doing.
Permanent dentures can actually fall into two major categories: the fixed dental prosthesis and the implant-supported prosthesis. Both types of replacement teeth can provide comfort and stability for years, and each offers different features and benefits to the user.
A fixed dental prosthesis can be inserted when one or several of the natural teeth are missing. It is also known as a dental bridge because there is literally a bridge between the new porcelain or metal-core prosthetic tooth, and the adjacent natural teeth. If the surrounding teeth are not healthy or in the right place to put a bridge, implant-supported dentures may be indicated.
An implant-supported prosthesis can come into play when all the natural teeth are missing or unhealthy, or when just a single tooth needs replacing. As its name suggests, these teeth are screwed directly into dental implants, titanium posts that are first drilled into the jaw bone. This surgery requires separate stages and several months of healing time, but has a very high success and satisfaction rate with patients.
Can you really put a price tag on beauty, comfort and confidence? Probably not…yet because permanent dentures require a lot of skill to make and to implant, they cost more than conventional dentures, which at times is seen as a disadvantage. It’s important to note that in addition to the intangible benefits of having teeth which so closely resemble the real thing that no one will know unless you tell them, permanent dentures also take longer to wear out than regular ones, and there is no added expense for things like messy pastes and special cleansers. Permanent denture wearers also don’t spend valuable time at the denturist’s getting painful mouth sores treated and getting their dentures re-based or re-lined.
If expertly placed by a cosmetic dentist or denturist, and properly cared for, permanent dentures can last a lifetime, making them a good investment indeed! Ask your dentist or denturist for a diagnostic to see if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He or she will be able to provide you with a cost quotation based on the current condition of your teeth and mouth and let you know whether permanent dentures could help you feel good about your smile again.